Salt water pools chlorinate the water through a process of a chlorine generator that splits the salt to release chlorine. Yes, salt water pools do have chlorine in them. The systems are not expensive and because of this they are very popular in Australia. Also, there are lots of different models from which to choose. We suggest buying a well known salt water chlorinator brand. This is because spare parts can sometimes be an issue with some cheap systems. Also, many pool shops will stop carrying them when they consistently fail. When this happens, there are no more spare parts! Remember, we have seen $1,400 systems encounter a minor issue and be rendered useless because a $13 part is simply not available.
Advantages of a salt water pool
Salt water pool systems are low maintenance, easy to use and cheap to run. In Australia, more than 80% of swimming pools use salt water. Also, becasue the salt is held in the water, it means that there are fewer trips to the pool shop to buy chlorine and other chemicals. This is because you salt water generator will keep making chlorine each day automatically. This cab be very helpful if you go away frequently as you will not come home to a green pool.
Salt Water Pool Systems – How they work
Salt water pool systems work by having a moderate level of salt (~4,500ppm) in the pool water. This salt enables your chlorine generator (or salt cell) to generate chlorine gas. To do this, it produces an electrical current in the salt cell which splits the salt crystal into sodium and chloride. Basically, this splitting process releases chlorine gas which then flows into your pool water to keep it clear. Importantly, it is this chlorine generation, not the salt, that keeps your pool water clean and safe.
Disadvantages of a salt water pool
One of the main disadvantages of a salt water pool is that salt water can be very hard on surrounding tiles, stonework and fixtures. For example, metal objects that fall into the pool will rust much faster in a salt pool compared to a liquid chlorine pool. There is also a chlorine generator that needs to be cleaned and maintained so that it continues to make chlorine. Finally, if your salt water chlorinator is installed in a place where it is in sunlight the life of the entire unit can be less than 5 years. In short, electronics, power modules and circuit boards don’t like being outside.
Is expensive salt worth the money?
The quality of the salt used in your pool makes such a big difference. Remember, if you always use good quality salt then your chances of having surface issues is greatly reduced. This is because poor quality salt has minerals and metals which can stain the pool surface. Cheap salt also has a higher moisture content which means you are buying water. Cheap salt is false economy. There is more information about pool salt available here.
Good pool salt
Bad pool salt
Do salt water pools taste salty?
Most salt pools require a concentration of about 4,500 ppm of salt to function properly. This means that for a typical 40,000 litre pool needs about 8 bags (200kgs) of salt. This amount will bring the salt to the right level when it is first filled with water. Sounds like a lot of salt right? However, if we compare that to the ocean which has 35,000 ppm of salt it is not that much. Remember, to make a standard sized pool as salty as the ocean you would need to add 72 bags of salt (1,800kgs) instead of 8 bags to do this. Big difference.